By Tamas Mondovics

Close to 150 high school JROTC students from 26 high schools near and far took aim at targets last month competing for trophies and medals, not to mention the bragging rights, during the 2nd Annual Bass Pro Shops Marksmanship Classic of West Central Florida.
Competing teams included students from Bloomingdale and Newsome High Schools and teams from as far away as Niceville, in Florida’s panhandle.

Newsome JROTC’s Emma Custis placed second in standing position and placed third overall.

Newsome walked away with a second place team win, behind Oviedo High School, while host team, Sickles High won 3rd place overall. Sarasota Military Academy, won 1st place in the precision rifle category.

Newsome’s team success was coupled with impressive individual results including the Emma Custis’ second place win in standing position and Michael Portugue’s

Michael Portugue of Newsome JROTC placed first in prone position and placed fifth overall.

prone position first place win. Custis placed third overall and Portugue placed fifth overall.

“The activity and excitement in our boat showroom proved to be a great event for students to participate in and for our customers to watch,” said Bass Pro Shops Community Relations Manager, Cheryl Kehrmeyer.

Kehrmeyer said that in years past, the Air Force JROTC team from Sickles High School had enthusiastically traveled to Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, Alabama to participate in a similar tournament, utilizing the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Mobile Range set up in the Tracker boat showroom.

Last year, however, the host team worked with local Bass Pro Shops General Manager, Ronnie Cheeks, to host the inaugural event, which saw 25 JROTC teams from high schools across the area competing in the tournament.

“This year the event has grown to 36 teams traveling to participate,” Kehrmeyer said.The recently opened Bass Pro Shops store is located at 10501 Palm River Rd. in Riverview.

The tourney debuted the new OptiScore Target System Range from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), which utilizes cameras to capture the actual pellet as it passes through the target instead of the sound as it passes through a paper roll in an acoustical target. Shooters and the audience members were able to view the results of each shot on monitors.

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